From The Intersector Project’s “Research to Practice” series, this article looks closely at scholarly research and highlights key facts, actionable takeaways, and additional resources practitioners can turn to for related guidance.
The United States faces a host of complex problems on which government leaders and public agencies at all levels strive to make marked progress, from poverty to climate change to public health. As citizens are becoming increasingly accustomed to experiencing inventive solutions in other parts of their lives, there are greater public expectations of government to create innovative, effective solutions to solve these wicked problems. But there are several roadblocks to public innovation, including bureaucratic processes and rules and a tendency to rely on in-house approaches to addressing public challenges.
While lone leaders can sometimes overcome these challenges, the authors of “Public Value Creation Through Collaborative Innovation” suggest that innovation can be more consistently achieved “through dispersed efforts and distributed leadership,” looking to “the role of networks and partnerships as venues where public innovation emerges.” In this type of collaborative model, public managers may not be fully leading innovation, but they still play a key role in making it happen, through convening partners and garnering support for the co-created innovative solutions in the institutionalized arenas where actual policy change can occur, the authors note. Their findings, which relate to levers for propelling talk-centric collaboration into action, will be of interest to public managers and other leaders interested in convening, managing, and catalyzing cross-sector creation of solutions to public challenges.